Weekly Devotion – John 21:16

Published 9:22 am Thursday, December 8, 2022

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By Mike Caton

John 21:16, “Again Jesus said, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He answered, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Take care of my sheep.’”

For the second time Jesus asks Peter the same question. Look at how Jesus addresses Peter in all three of these questions: Simon son of John. Remember Jesus has given Simon the nickname Peter, John 1:42. Maybe this was in reference to what Jesus would say later to Peter about the Good Confession Peter made being the rock upon which the church was built. To be clear, it was the rock of the confession, not upon Peter himself, which the church was to be built. It could have been because of Peter’s stubborn, hard headed nature. But for Jesus to call him Simon son of John, that seems to be like your momma calling you by your full name, you know it is serious when that happens. Jesus has something he wants to be sure Peter gets.

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The first time Jesus asks he says, do you love me more than these? There are several streams of thought on what Jesus is asking there. Do you love me more than these men: that is more than they love me or more than you love them. Do you love me more than these fishing boats, nets, and so forth. All of that and more can be included if Jesus is asking Peter if he loves him more than everything else, every person, every boat, every pleasure, every lake, every sunrise, every breakfast, every thing. That is the very heart of what Jesus asks of all of his followers. Do you really, truly love me?

Again, we need to look into our own hearts and answer this question. It is easy to love Jesus when things are going well and life is easy. Oh, we talk about loving Jesus, how good he is to us, and so forth. But what when the storms of life hit us; when sickness strikes, marriages break up, children rebel, jobs end, bills pile up, and so forth. Do we still love Jesus then, or do we ask where he is, wondering if he has abandoned us? And do we set out on our own to make things better? And what about in the good times, when we are flying high; happy family, good jobs, plenty of money, and so forth. We can easily forget to love God in those times, thinking we have earned or achieved all this on our own. Our love for Jesus needs to be constant and solid, just like the rock Peter is referred to as.

Father, help me examine my love for you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Mike Caton is the preacher at Mount Olive Church of Christ in Belhaven. He volunteers at the Ponzer Fire Department and works full time with Hyde County EMS. If you would like to receive daily devotions in your inbox, email mikecaton@centurylink.net.